|HOME | NEWS | ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS '98 | REPORT|
|November 25, 1998||
58 pc turnout in Bharuch
An estimated 55 to 58 per cent of the 1.07 million voters exercised their franchise today in the bye-election to the Bharuch Lok Sabha constituency in south Gujarat, compared to 63 per cent polling in the February Lok Sabha election, according to reports.
While polling passed off largely peacefully, it was marred by a case of booth-capturing at polling booth number 178 at Rajgarh in Valia taluka. Following the incident, polling was suspended and not resumed thereafter, official sources said.
The incident took place when a group of miscreants, armed with lethal weapons, barged into the booth, snatched away several ballot papers from polling officials, stamped them and forcibly inserted these in ballot boxes. Repolling at this booth will be held on November 27. In all, eight persons had so far been arrested in this connection.
According to state election office sources, polling was nearly 12 per cent in the first four hours of polling that commenced at 0700 hours on a dull note. However, it picked up in the noon, and by 1500 hours, nearly 41 per cent voters had exercised their franchise. When polling closed at 1700 hours, an estimated 55 to 58 per cent of the voters had reportedly turned up at the polling booths.
According to state Chief Electoral Officer Balwant Singh, the authorities had received complaints from BJP and Congress workers from about 10 places in the constituency, charging each other with threatening their respective election agents and resorting to bogus voting. The Janata Dal, however, lodged no such complaint.
An inquiry will be held into these complaints by tonight and the matter would be reported to the Election Commission in New Delhi where a decision on repolling at these booths will be taken, he said.
The Bharuch bye-elections was held because sitting BJP Lok Sabha member Chandubhai Deshmukh died. He had beaten Congress nominee Iqbal Kakuji by a margin of nearly 11,000 votes in the mid-term parliamentary election held in February. Deshmukh had won the seat four times earlier.
The ruling BJP had fielded Mansukh Vasava this time while the Congress and Janata Dal had fielded their old candidates, Iqbal Kakuji and Chhotubhai Vasava in the current bye-election too.
There were also six independents in the fray.
SHOPPING HOME | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | HOTEL RESERVATIONS
PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | FEEDBACK